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Due to a thriving economy on the back of strong population growth, Melbourne is set to overtake Sydney as the nation's most populous city by 2026, placing additional pressure on infrastructure, commercial space, and residential property.

The Australian Government is planning and building intergenerational infrastructure projects to transform the existing transport network and support a growing economy.

The long-term ‘Victorian Infrastructure Plan’ identifies approximately $107bn worth of infrastructure investment for Melbourne and the surrounding regions.

In the face of the current COVID-19 economic impacts (April 2020), Melbourne continues to push through as a growing economy on the back of key infrastructure projects currently underway.

Let’s take the time a look into the elements of these key projects and the positive outlook each will have on Australia’s fastest-growing city.

North-East Link

The $15.8bn North-East Link is Victoria’s largest road project ever seen. It will create more than 10,000 jobs, take 15,000 trucks off local roads and slash travel times for up to 135,000 motorists [1].

The project is expected to slash travel times for all motorists between Melbourne’s north and South-East by up to 30 minutes.

Residents throughout the north and east will also benefit from more than 25-kilometres of new walking and cycle paths and have access to Melbourne’s first dedicated busway along the Eastern Freeway.

The city is expected to benefit a $427m annual economic boost from better freight and connectivity once completion has been met.

Construction timelines:

  • Early works commenced in 2020

  • Construction is expected to start by 2021

  • It is expected to open to traffic in 2027

Metro Tunnel

The new $11bn Metro Tunnel is a twin 9-kilometre rail tunnel running through Melbourne's CBD from South Kensington to South Yarra [2].

The Metro Tunnel project will create nearly 7,000 jobs, including hundreds for apprentices and trainees.

The upgrades will enable more than half a million extra passengers to use Melbourne’s rail network during peak periods every week, and save people up to 50 minutes each day during their commutes.

The project includes five new underground stations, including:

  1. North Melbourne

  2. Parkville

  3. State Library

  4. Town Hall

  5. Anzac

Major construction is continuing in 2020 with significant progress being made at each of the new station locations and tunneling underway in the west between North Melbourne and Kensington.

Construction timelines:

  • Early works commenced in 2016

  • Completion will be in late 2025

West Gate Tunnel

The West Gate Tunnel is a $6.8bn road project that will give Melbourne a second freeway link between the west and the city [3].

The tunnel project will ease Melbourne’s daily reliance on the West Gate Bridge by building a new tunnel and new links to the port, CityLink and the city.

Once completed, the city will benefit from new twin tunnels, a second river crossing, 4 new lanes on the West Gate Freeway, and express lanes.

This additional road infrastructure will help ease daily congestion for commuters. It will also have a positive impact on the delivery of goods as 9,000 trucks will now be of the local streets of the inner west and have quick access to the port.

The city is expected to benefit from close to 9 hectares of new parks and wetlands including 14 kilometers of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths, including new links to parks, sports grounds, and popular trails.

Throughout the project, the economy is also expected to benefit from 6,000 jobs.

Construction timelines

  • Major construction began in January 2018

  • Completion is expected at the end of 2022

M80 Ring Road Upgrade

The M80 Ring Road is one of Melbourne's busiest and largest freeways, spanning 38 kilometers between Laverton North and Greensborough [4].

The upgrade is located on the M80 Ring Road between Sydney Road and Edgars Road, approximately 14km north of the Melbourne CBD.

The estimated cost of the project is $1bn, with the Australian Government contributing $500m and the Victorian Government $500m.

The project is expected to reduce congestion by increasing capacity. The project is also expected to reduce travel times and improve safety. 

Come completion, the upgrade is expected to increase capacity, improve safety and create more reliable travel times for the 165,000 motorists who use this road each day.

Construction timelines

· Major construction started late 2016

· Completion is expected in early 2023

Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Over the next decade, The Melbourne Airport Rail project could be one of Melbourne’s largest infrastructure projects seen by the city [5].

It would connect the growing city from the CBD to the airport via a state-of-the-art rail network and deliver a short 20-minute travel experience for daily commuters.

Passenger numbers at Melbourne Airport are expected to almost double by 2038 to more than 67m people. The Melbourne Airport Rail will help meet this increased demand, alleviating pressure on the city roads.

In 2018, the Victorian Government announced its intention to proceed with one such proposal, a 27-kilometre link via Sunshine.  A preliminary business case was completed later that year, and in early 2019, the Federal Government agreed to partially fund the project.

At the funding announcement, Government representatives claimed that a business case would be complete by mid-2020, followed by the start of construction in 2022 and expected completion in late-2031.

The airport rail link is expected to cost between $8bn and $13bn and would potentially facilitate airport trains every 10 minutes, including during peak periods.

This is a vital infrastructure project that could have a major positive impact on the Melbourne market as a whole.

If approvals are meet and construction begins, astute investors will be keeping a close eye on the advancements in the coming years.

Construction timelines

· Full business case expected in 2020

· Project commencement in 2022

Jarryd Gauci – Property Investment Consultant

P: (02) 9939 3249


[1] Victorian Government - North East Link

[2] Victorian Government - Metro Tunnel

[3] Victorian Government - West Gate Tunnel

[4] Victorian Government - M80 Upgrade

[5] Victorian Government - Airport Rail Link


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